Saturday, May 19, 2012

I’m back, promotion in hand

Well howdy, it’s been a while. You’ve heard me say it…life gets busy. But I’m back with a promotion in hand! Which reminds that my “about me” section is out of date and therefore is taken out of the left hand navigation bar until further notice. 

Anyway, I’m a manager now. Super excited about it. My sedulous work ethic has paid off. Go me. (We rarely pat ourselves on the back, so I’m taking this opportunity.)

Back to the writing board, finally.
Busted out this post in the air - thank you mini seat tray.

During my last business trip to Tennessee I was scanning back through previous VCL posts on my iPhone and was seriously laughing at some of the things I managed to write over the past two years. I noticed that there was a blatant trend. Most of my posts were very vegan, but not that much corporate.

I can’t promise to change the content toward more business related things – I mean vegan stuff is just more exciting to talk about. Plus, I have so much to write about from events while I was away.

But today, let’s talk about corporate work. Let’s talk about one of the terms that makes me feel all suit and 1980’s black pumps. Let’s talk about professional development.

People love professional development. While I kind of grimace at the term, I actually really love the concept of what it represents. And about a year ago I realized that professional development really means strategically plotting the next 5-10 years of your life. Even if you don’t know what your life will bring or when the change will happen. It’s a direction.

It’s talking to people, learning more, growing up, realizing that you don’t know anything and touting your skills all in the same sentence. “Sure I've never completed a media transaction, but I’m a fast learner and can adjust to teams quickly.” It’s nodding and agreeing with people and presenting your own point of view in an interesting, non-controversial way.

Let me give you newbies to the corporate world a hint. When you hear the word “corporate” you may think old, archaic, static, and potentially men in grey madmen like suits. And to be quite honest most of that may be true depending on the company. Once you realize however that corporations are anything BUT STATIC, you open a world of learning opportunities for yourself.

You are the only person responsible for your development. The sooner you learn that the better. Yes, there will be people who point you in the right direction like a steadfast golden weather vane. But for the most part you are on your own in this worky-work world.

There may be times when you feel as though you’re not on a career path, but the yellow brick road to OZ. You will encounter Wicked Witches. Your colleagues will become your affable friends and hopefully will sustain courage, heart and a brain. There are no ruby slippers. And if you’re lucky, truth will prevail behind lots of smoke and mirrors.

But don’t give up. Talk to more people. Make the decision to be the best at what you do. Job-shadow, interview, volunteer for more projects. When I realized I that I was in charge of my own professional development I did all of that. I found that most people went out of their way to help me. I gravitated toward professional women and they were more than happy to give me advice.

Ok, it wasn’t ALL great. I did run into a few personality road-blocks and someone did question the legitimacy of my resume, which left me a little stunned and kind of bitter. But I didn’t let it get me down. I just kept trying to learn more, became even more appreciative of those who helped me and grateful for the information I was receiving.

Let’s go back to courage, heart and a brain for a second. The first and last seem to be the things that HR Professionals look for in candidates. If they’re intelligent and stand up for what they believe in, then they can get the job done. But I think if you want people to like you (which you may or may not care about), then the second quality is where you ultimately win. Real leaders have all three qualities.

As I embark on my first job as “manager” it’s an interesting mix of feelings. Previous experience has treated me well. There are some things I will always do, some things I will never do, and even more future things that I will leave to hard work and perseverance.  

So keep on keeping on. Until next time (which will be soon.)


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